South Asia

Nepal earthquake: Their dreams were reduced to rubble

Soldiers of People’s Liberation Army remove a statue from a damaged lamasery in Kathmandu.  

For thousands of Indian citizens living in Kathmandu, a life in the city is now unimaginable after witnessing two earthquakes on consecutive days. Lined up in long queues outside the Tribhuvan airport, they wait restlessly for Indian planes to take them out of the country.

Aside from tourists looking for a way home, many of the people here say they were working and had built lives in Kathmandu. Some are even students from India who had got admission to colleges here.

“I have only been here for about two and half months after getting admission in a medical course here, says Satish Mohanty from Odisha. He says his plan was to study and find a job in Kathmandu but now wants to go back to Odisha as soon as possible.

Several families gathered at the airport say they have been in Kathmandu for a number of years and had built lives here. When the quakes struck, they left their homes with just a few bags and are too scared now to go back. “It’s better we start over again in India where our relatives can help us,” says Anureet Singh, a shopkeeper who had moved to Nepal about 10 years ago. According to an Indian embassy spokesperson, about 3,500 Indians have been airlifted out of Nepal as of Tuesday afternoon. The priority, he said, was to first take women, children, senior citizens as well as tourists in distress — or those who don’t have anywhere to live now.

People who do not come under this category are now being encouraged to go to Kalanki from where buses are going to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. As of Tuesday night about 80 buses with 4,000 people have already left.

The Indian government has also offered an on-arrival visa to nationals of 43 countries who want to leave Nepal. They will be given a one-time entry visa and can stay in India for one month.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 10:03:14 PM |

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